City History

Transfer Fees

City have traditionally been a selling club, invariably our record sales has been in excess of our record signings.

Hamstrung by low income, we’ve been unable to offer big fees and the wages that go with the fee.

In November 1933, City paid a small fee, believed to be about £100 for Walter Lax, Coventry's left winger, the first time City paid a fee for a player. John Simpson was our first £1,000 signing in 1947. After his playing career, he was appointed City’s physio in 1977. He also enjoyed a testimonial during his physio years with City.

The 1950s saw City make a number of signings for fees of £5,000 or less. £5,000 fees were paid for the returning David Dunmore (1965) and Ted MacDougall (1967), but it was the record signing of Paul Aimson for £8,000 in August 1969 that caught the imagination. It was his second spell with City, we’d paid £1,000 for him in 1964 and sold him for £10,000 2 years later.

4 summers later, Tom Johnston smashed City’s transfer record again when paying £10,000 for Ian Butler, he went onto break it 15 months later when he paid £12,000 for Barry Lyons and again in August 1974 when paying £18,000 for Mickey Cave.

In 1978, David Loggie set a new transfer fee for City when arriving for £20,000, it wasn’t until he moved to Belgium and Holland that he re-discovered his goalscoring boots. A year later, Gordon Staniforth left City for a club record fee of £120,000, breaking the previous record sale of £33,000 of Brian Pollard.

However, it wasn’t until 1984 that our tranfer record was again broken when Denis Smith paid £50,000 for Dale Banton, that came just a few weeks after the sale of John Byrne for £100,000.

Post Denis Smith and relegation, there was a loosening of purse strings that saw a series of mid-price signings, but it wasn’t until 1992 that John Ward equalled our transfer record when signing Paul Barnes. The purchases were offset by the sale of Marco Gabbiadini, his initial £80,000 fee in September 1987 swelling to around £435,000 with a 25% sell on clause when he joined Crystal Palace in September 1991.

Promotion saw Alan Little twice break our transfer record when signing Rob Matthews (£90,000, September 1995) and Adrian Randall (£140,000) just 3 months later. The fee paid for Randall remains our record purchase to this day. Neither particularly impressed or settled in York. Both had left City within a year, with City just about recouping the fees paid. Incidentally, Harry Redknapp, when asked, "What about a wasted talent?", replied “Adrian Randall at Bournemouth. He was a genius. Six foot tall, he used to glide over the pitch, juggling the ball on his foot. He could do it all. We used to play him against Tony Pulis in training and he’d tie him in knots, but he never really made it. He was so laid-back in his attitude. You just wanted to shake him, because this was a talent like I’d never seen”. Rumours suggested he liked a drink or three.

The mid to late 1990s were a golden period for outgoing transfers. Jon McCarthy (£660,000), Paul Barnes (£360,000), Dean Kiely (£300,000), Graeme Murty (£750,000), Jon Greening (£1,080,000) and Richard Cresswell (£950,000) all moved on.

Unfortunately, the monies received weren’t well spend. The likes of Colin Alcide, Barry Conlon, Gordon Connelly, David Rush, John Sharples, Mark Tinkler and Neil Tolson were signed for fees of £70,000 or more but all failed to drive the team forward.

In our recent non league years, the £60,000 spent on Jason Walker has been our biggest signing and with adds on included, Jake Hyde (£40,000).

Meanwhile, a number of players moved on for reasonable fees, including Richard Brodie (£275,000) and Martyn Woolford (£200,000).

In more recent years, a number of juniors have left, including Ben Godfrey (£200,000), Ryan Edmondson, Gabby McGill and Sam Fielding. Since Godfrey, the fees have all been undisclosed, but are probably relatively small initial fees but with lucrative clauses as the players progress their careers.

Throughout the years, a number of junior and young players have been “poached” from City. Stand outs include 14 year old Cole Kiernan (£40,000), Chris Hogg (150,000), Lee Grant (£50,000), Cameron Stuart (£50,000), Scott Allison (£25,000), Nick Culkin (£100,000) and Curtis Woodhouse (£2,200, but believed to be about £75,000 with subsequent sell on clauses).

Top Fees Paid By York City






Randall, Adrian




All time City record

Conlon, Barry




Matthews, Rob




Club record at the time. Previous was £50,000 (Banton / Barnes)

Rush, David




Alcide, Colin




All fees are the original transfer fees, no adds on clauses were involved / activated.

Top Fees Received By York City






Greening, Jonathan

Manchester United



  • All time club record (with clauses included)
  • £350k + £500k (appearances) + £230k (20% sell on)

Cresswell, Richard

Sheffield W



  • Club record one off fee

Murty, Graeme




  • Club record (at the time)
  • Includes £50k promotion bonus

McCarthy, Jon

Port Vale



  • Club record (at the time)
  • £450k + £210k (20% sell on)

Gabbiadini, Marco




  • Sell on made it a club record (at the time)
  • £80k + £355k (25% sell on)

Barnes, Paul




  • £300k + £10k (20% sell on)

Kiely, Dean




  • £125k + £175k (20% sell on)

Note: Some sources may show slight variances on the clauses. Many sources list Richard Cresswell as our biggest fee received, however with add ons, City received more for Jon Greening.

In February 2019, rumours of a £10m transfer for Ben Godfrey circulated. Speculation was that it would activate a sell on clause for City, rumoured to be 10%, which would mean an £800,000 windfall.


Richard Cresswell

Being the biggest lump sum received by City, a special feature on Richard Cresswell.


  1. Check out CONTRACTS, Players & Appearances for a full list of players, current contracts, playing records and transfer fees
  2. NB Given many transfers fees are stated as “undisclosed”, or figures vary between the buying and selling clubs and the effect of additional payments. All fees should be assumed to be approximate, however all figures stated are believed to be reasonably accurate and include additional payments
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